Tamil Nadu

Girl's mother, grandmother arrested for honour killing in Ramanathapuram


Almost four years after a teenaged girl died under suspicious circumstances near Paramakudi in Ramanathapuram district, the police on Friday arrested her mother and grandmother on charges of murder.

The alleged honour killing took place in Kaliyur village after 17-year-old Thiruselvi eloped with her boyfriend Danielraj and later returned home with suspected chicken pox.

Claiming that the girl had succumbed to the ailment around midnight on June 5, 2008, the caste Hindu family buried the body before dawn, police sources said.

Based on a complaint lodged by an advocate, who raised doubts over the girl's death, police registered a case and exhumed the body after ten days. Though post-mortem revealed strangulation, smothering and residue of a pesticide, the police sought to clarify certain aspects with the team of doctors that conducted the autopsy.

It took three years and ten months for the investigators to conclude that it was murder.

“We are fully convinced that it is a case of murder. On interrogation, the accused Ilanjiam and her mother-in-law Rakku maintained that the girl died of chicken pox. However, when confronted with post-mortem details, they confessed to the murder,” Deputy Superintendent of Police (Paramakudi) R. Ganesan told The Hindu.

Irked over the girl eloping with a Dalit boy, Ilanjiam forced Thiruselvi to consume a pesticide. When the victim refused to do so, she forcibly poured the poison into her mouth.

“While Rakku held the girl's legs tightly, Ilanjiam smothered and strangulated her to death. On the pretext that chicken pox might spread to others, the family hurriedly buried the body,” Mr. Ganesan said adding that the accused were produced in a local court and remanded in judicial custody.

A fact-finding team of ‘Evidence', a human rights organisation, which went into the details of the case, found that the girl's parents were opposed to her relationship with Danielraj from the beginning.

“The girl went with Danielraj to Tirupur and worked in a factory there. After her parents promised that they had no objection to their marriage, he brought her back. Thiruselvi's family intercepted the couple at Parthibanur and took away the girl,” A. Kathir, Executive Director of Evidence said.

The issue had been brought to the notice of the State Director-General of Police, Mr. Kathir said. According to him, at least a dozen honour killings were reported across Tamil Nadu in the last three years.

“There is a caste angle in almost every case and a majority of victims were women. We have called for enactment of a special law to eradicate honour killings.”

Quoting State Crime Record Bureau (SCRB) statistics, Mr. Kathir said 11,483 women committed suicide in 2009-10. During the same period, as many as 1,216 women were murdered, of which 419 were aged between 18 and 30 years.

“A trend of honour suicides is also emerging where elders force victims, mostly girls, to consume poison or hang themselves…”

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 2:21:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/girls-mother-grandmother-arrested-for-honour-killing-in-ramanathapuram/article3340301.ece

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